Although the Detroit Red Wings are heading in the right direction, general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman opted to part ways with notable assets like Filip Hronek, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Oskar Sundqvist before the 2023 Trade Deadline passed. Ultimately, it is understandable when noting that the Red Wings’ playoff hopes have dropped noticeably after winning just three out of their last 10 games. Yet, although the Red Wings may not have too much to play for at this juncture of the campaign, they still have a few players to pay very close attention to. Let’s discuss them now.
Heading into the 2022-23 season, Filip Zadina had big expectations. The 2018 sixth-overall pick’s primary goal was to take that next step in his development and inch closer to his top-six potential, but that just has not happened at this point of the year. A major reason behind that was his long-term injury earlier this season, but he still has not found his scoring since returning. In 23 years on the year, he has just two goals and three assists.
Yet, with the Red Wings moving Bertuzzi, Zadina’s now in a position where he can compete with players like Dominik Kubalik and Pius Suter for top-six minutes. However, for that to have any chance of occurring, he will need to increase his offensive production before the season is over. The potential for him to become a legitimate middle-six winger is there, so we should watch him closely to see if he can end the year on a high note. Yet, if he continues to struggle, perhaps a change of scenery could be in the cards this offseason.
Lost in the Trade Deadline madness, Alex Chiasson quietly inked a contract with the Red Wings for the remainder of the season. This came a little bit out of left field, but the 6-foot-4 winger will now provide Detroit with more forward depth. Truthfully, I was a little surprised that Chiasson could not find an NHL home during the summer, as he had a solid 13-goal and 22-point campaign in 67 games last season for the Vancouver Canucks. However, after impressing with the Grand Rapid Griffins this season, he has now earned this NHL contract from Detroit.
Related: The Grind Line: Grading the Red Wings’ 2023 Trade Deadline Moves
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So far, Chiasson has not looked very rusty with the Red Wings, as he has two assists in his first three contests. With that, the Red Wings have been utilizing him as a net-front presence on their power play. With Detroit giving the Montreal native chances to thrive, he’s a player to keep a close eye on for the rest of the season. If he continues to do well, perhaps he could earn another contract with the Red Wings for next season.
Heading into this season, Lucas Raymond naturally had high expectations. After all, he just recorded a 57-point rookie campaign in 82 games last season with Detroit and was easily one of their best players. However, Raymond is experiencing a bit of a sophomore slump this year, as he has 16 goals and 34 points in 56 games. Although those are not bad totals at all, his pace of production has dropped just a tad. With that, he has just four points over his last 15 games.
Due to his recent struggles, Raymond is a player to watch closely for the rest of the season. Everybody knows the kind of talent he possesses, so it would be great for him to end the campaign on a high note. Time will tell if he can do just that.
The final player to pay extra attention to during the final contests of the season is captain Dylan Larkin. The star center just signed a massive eight-year, $69.6 million deal to stay with his hometown Red Wings, and now it will be interesting to see how he responds to it through his play from here.
The Red Wings needed to get Larkin signed, as he is easily their top center and will now continue to be for several years to come. The 26-year-old is having another strong season as well, as he has 24 goals to go along with 60 points in 63 games played. However, his campaign would look extra sweet if he could become a point-per-game player by the time the year is wrapped up.
Nevertheless, it will be intriguing to see how these four Red Wing players perform during this final portion of the season. Other Red Wings who I will also be keeping a close eye on include Jake Walman, Jonatan Berggren, Gustav Lindstrom, and Magnus Hellberg.